Lake Erie Monsters Calder Cup Champions 2016
America Hockey League Champions 2016
Dillon Heatherington, John Ramage, Michael Paliotta, Nick Moutrey, Kerby Rychel, Dean Kukan, Trent Vogelhuber, Ryan Craig, T.J. Tynan, Markus Hannikainen, Sonny Milano, Oleg Yevenko, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Lukas Sedlak, Jaime Sifers, Alex Broadhurst, Anton Forsberg, Brett Gallant, Michael Chaput, Justin Falk, Steve McCarthy, Josh Anderson, Daniel Zaar, Joonas Korpisalo, Steve Eminger, Mark Cundari, Zach Werenski, Paul Bittner
Head Coach - Jared Bednar
Assistant Coach - Nolan Pratt
Assistant Coach - Toby Petersen
Assistant General Manager - Bill Zito
Head Athletic Trainer - Tom Bourdon
President - Kerry Bubolz
Majority Owner - Dan Gilbert
The largest crowd in Lake Erie Monsters franchise history and the second-largest crowd in the 80-year history of the Calder Cup Playoffs, watched the Monsters score a 1-0 overtime win over the Hershey Bears in Game 4 and win the Calder Cup in a 4 game sweep for the American Hockey League championship.
Oliver Bjorkstrand buried his league-leading sixth game-winning goal of the playoffs with just 1.9 seconds remaining in OT, an even-strength marker, Bjorkstrand’s AHL-best tenth marker of the postseason, on feeds from Lukas Sedlak and Zach Werenski.
Bjorkstrand was named as the winner of the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as the AHL’s playoff MVP.
The 1-0 victory giving Cleveland its first Hockey championship since the Cleveland Barons won the same Calder Cup in 1964.
As everyone in Cleveland — and maybe the whole country — seems to know, 1964 was also the last year a team from the city won a big-league sports championship, with the Cleveland Browns beating the Baltimore Colts, 27-0, for the N.F.L. title on Dec. 27 at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, which was razed 20 years ago. (The Cleveland Crunch, it should be noted, won three National Professional Soccer League titles indoors in the 1990s.)
“I mean, if you’re a sports fan at all, and you come to Cleveland, you’re made aware of that stuff right away,” Golden State Coach Steve Kerr, a former Cavaliers guard, said Friday.
The Monsters were not pretending that a Calder Cup equals a Stanley Cup — or, for that matter, the Larry O’Brien N.B.A. Championship Trophy, an oversized replica of which was placed smack-dab in the middle of the Fan Fest area at the Cavaliers’ game Friday night.
But they said a trophy for Cleveland would be a significant accomplishment. The Monsters, who had been an affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche for eight seasons, were third in the 30-team A.H.L. in attendance during 2015-16 regular season, averaging 8,596 per game.
“It helps them get prepared for the next step — it’s not just a couple thousand people in an empty building,” said Jock Callander, a former forward for the International Hockey League’s Cleveland Lumberjacks who is now the color commentator on Monsters’ radio and TV broadcasts.
Game 3 of the Calder Cup finals had been played at Quicken Loans Arena and drew 12,935. Tony Brown, the Monsters’ play-by-play announcer, said: “The support has been great. This market is so hungry for a championship.”
Youth Hockey here is big, and Hockey is not new. The Cleveland Indians played in the I.H.L. from 1929 to 1933, when they were renamed the Falcons. The Falcons became the Barons in 1936 and won the Calder Cup nine times before moving to Jacksonville, Fla., in 1973.
The Cleveland Crusaders of the World Hockey Association opened in 1972, moving from Cleveland Arena to the suburban Richfield Coliseum in 1974. For two seasons in the mid-’70s, Cleveland had an N.H.L. team, also called the Barons, which drew poorly.
The Lumberjacks popped up in 1992 and lasted until the I.H.L. folded in 2001, and yet another iteration of the Barons, this time a San Jose Sharks’ farm team, played in the A.H.L. from 2002-6 until moving to Worcester, Mass.
A banner with Callander’s number with the Lumberjacks, 15, hangs in the rafters at Quicken Loans Arena, next to the No. 1 worn by Barons’ goaltender Johnny Bower, the No. 9 worn by Barons center Fred Glover and another banner commemorating the Barons’ Calder Cups.
Opening night on October 15, 2016 will feature a new Calder Cup Championship banner raising.